United States: Electronic paperwork
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Electronic registration of a legal document is a practical, reliable, efficient and effective way to conclude an agreement between the parties on compliance with the terms and conditions of the document. Two uniform US laws, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Trade Act, strongly support the above. While Illinois is one of three states that have not passed these US laws, Illinois has passed its own Electronic Commerce Security Act, which, for virtually all intents and purposes, has the same objectives and provides the same certainty as the two uniform laws.
All that is required to ensure the enforceability and validity of a transaction or document issued electronically in accordance with all of the above laws is that the parties consent to the transaction being conducted electronically and / or being executed electronically.
Digital signatures are recognized as a special type of electronic signature that provides an additional element of authentication to the signer. This is the inclusion of a “digital certificate” that is issued by the platform only after the identity of the signer has been verified. While there are other types of additional levels of authentication, most platforms use a type of encryption called “public key infrastructure” or “PKI” to associate a specific signer with a specific document. Thus, an additional guarantee of the signor’s personality is provided.
To ensure that the intention of the parties to the document is recognized that the transaction provided for therein can be carried out entirely in electronic form and that the electronic execution of the document will bind the parties, the document should contain such a provision as the following:
“This document can be signed in electronic form, in encrypted or digital form, in several copies, each of which, taken together, is considered and constitutes the same document. Signing this document electronically should be as effective at certifying its performance as delivering a hand-signed / originally signed copy of it. Electronic signature of this document means any electronic sound, symbol or process associated with or logically associated with the performance of this document and accepted by a party to this document with the intention to sign this document, including facsimile, .pdf files and email signatures. The transactions provided for in this document can be conducted and executed exclusively in electronic form, in which case they will be in full force and be binding on the parties hereunder. “
The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. You should seek professional advice regarding your specific circumstances.
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